Crooks: Dumb and dumber

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Most of us are chumps. When we get to courting a lady, we do the same old things. We buy jewelry or send chocolate. We write love songs or have restraining orders folded up pretty and framed.

We really are a romantic bunch.

But mostly we’re chumps. Because apparently, a woman doesn’t want any of that romantic crap. A woman just wants you to take her hand, look deeply into her eyes and confess to the felony you committed moments ago while she sat in the car.

Trust me on this. Chicks dig criminals. If it weren’t true, would every other bad guy spill his guts to his lady? Of course not. It’s one of the first things you learn in crook school. Wipe fingerprints from the crime scene: check. Set up an alibi: check. Blab to the girl you met two days ago at a bar and plan to marry someday, unless a better girl comes along: check and checkmate, my friend. That’s how it’s done.

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Took a gander the other day at an affidavit spelling out the details of a recent arson. Police were led to the torch by employing an advanced investigative technique. In particular, they picked up a telephone when it rang.

The suspect in question is accused of strutting (a Class B crime in itself) into an Auburn apartment, stuffing cardboard here and there and setting it on fire. If you believe the affidavit — and how can you not? They’re such neatly typed documents — the dude then climbed into his friend’s car and told her all about it. Told her how he started the fire, told her why he did it and how it made him feel.

I’m not sure whether he included photographs of himself flicking the Bic. That stuff really drives the ladies crazy. Cops, too.

Criminals don’t even try anymore. If they’re not babbling about their crimes, they’re robbing three Big Apple stores in one night and figuring police won’t figure out the pattern. If they’re not doing that, they’re politely leaving their address, phone number and prison jumpsuit size behind for investigators.

No, really.

It happened in Lewiston, where the criminal motto appears to be: “We hope to make it onto one of those World’s Dumbest shows someday!” An aspiring “World’s Dumbest” star went into a downtown bank and applied for a loan. He filled out all the forms, signed on all the dotted lines.

The loan was turned down. So he robbed the bank.

Police found him a very short time later, at a bar around the corner buying drinks for all his friends. And brother, I mean a very short time later.

We had another star bank robber who, when asked by a teller to remove his ski mask, obliged her.

We had a pair of killers who buried a body but left one foot sticking out of the ground.

We had a fleeing felon who got dropped by the spray of a skunk. Which probably doesn’t count as stupid or lazy. It’s just damn funny.

But my point is, our criminals these days have no work ethic at all. You don’t see gangs of men in watchman’s caps spending a year to plan a heist. Nobody tunnels under the hardware store to get the bank vault on the other side. No, our guys stumble into a 7-Eleven, all cracked out and brandishing a board with a nail in it.

It makes you wonder: Are these people desperate? Lazy? Or is it hubris: a level of cockiness so great, they think nobody can outwit them?

Ah, no matter. Nobody wants to see bad guys prevail, after all. It’s funnier when they get hoisted with their own petard (whichever body part that is). It’s somehow reassuring. If so many crooks are this inept, maybe the good guys stand a chance, after all.

Mark LaFlamme is a Sun Journal staff writer who frequently quotes Shakespeare. You can e-mail him at mlaflamme@sunjournal.com.

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